State of AK: COVID-Conscious Business Tools
The State of Alaska has recently added a page to their COVID-19 website filled with tools and guidance to help businesses operate in a COVID-Conscious manner. Click the button below to review all their materials including Business Reopening Toolkits, FAQ, and media that you can download and use.
AK CARES Act Grant
September 12 – State of Alaska announces AK CARES Grant Portal closing September 15th
The following warning was issued on the AK CARES portal and AK CARES FAQ/Checklist page.
“The AK CARES program has been oversubscribed, meaning more funds have been requested than are available. However, we will continue to accept applications until 5:00pm on Tuesday, September 15th. If remaining AK CARES grant funds are available after all applications received between June 1st and September 15th have been processed, we will reopen the online application portal with advance notice to the public. If you choose to submit an application on or after September 2nd, please be aware that there is a high likelihood your application may not be funded. If you are looking for other funding programs that may be available to you, please visit COVID-19 Recovery Resource Portal for Business website.”
You may contact Cordova Chamber of Commerce Business Support Specialist, Lori Davis, via email or phone (484-883-6756) for assistance in getting your applications in quickly. She will do her best in assisting as many businesses as she can to get their applications in.
August 20, 2020 – Businesses do not have to return PPP or EIDL Funds and secondary income businesses may apply
Currently, applicants for AK CARES Grant fundi/ng have been restricted from applying if they received more than $5,000 in other federal assistance or if the business is a source of secondary income. The new changes announced 8/20/20 lift the $5,000 restriction, as well as those on secondary income businesses. Other restrictions, such as requiring that businesses must be Alaska based or that businesses cannot have more than 50 employees, remain in place at this time, but may be amended in the future based on authority granted in the RPL. Under law, the proposed changes can happen in 45 days at the latest. However, the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee can meet before then, and take action on the proposed changes. If the committee does take action, the expanded relief for businesses can take effect immediately. For more info, click here.
Please keep in mind, if you decide to apply for the AK CARES Act grant without returning PPP and/or EIDL funds, whether its above or under $5,000, you cannot double-dip your expenses. For example, if the PPP was used to pay for your payroll from a certain timeframe, then you cannot include those same expenses in your AK CARES application. Audits are expected.
As of August 6, 2020 the AK CARES grant program has expanded to include:
- – Alaska’s commercial fishermen,
- – 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations, and
- – Small businesses that received $5,000 or less in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds or have returned PPP or EIDL funds in excess of $5,000.
The new online application portal is currently available. The new portal will allow program operators to access the applications from one central location, which will facilitate faster processing. The new application link is available at https://www.akcaresonline.org. For information about eligible expenses and what would qualify as an eligible expense along with updated FAQs and Checklist, visit commerce.alaska.gov/web/ded/AKCARESGrant.aspx.
If you have questions about the application process, please reach out through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (cell: 484-883-6756) and we would be happy to assist you with any of your questions or concerns about the process.
SBA Relief Options
Paycheck Protection Plan Forgiveness
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan application closed on August 8, 2020. As such, SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders.
SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses. To learn more about the forgiveness plan, please see the provided link below.
- Forgiveness applications and instructions have been simplified. PPP loan forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. The loan forgiveness form and instructions were recently revised to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers. This includes step-by-step instructions and an EZ Loan Forgiveness Application option.
SBA Releases PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and Detailed Instructions
Economic Injury Disaster Loans still available!
Although funds have been depleted for the EIDL Advance program, applications are still being accepted for the low-interest economic injury disaster loan (EIDL), which is designed to provide economic relief to businesses currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. More info.
- EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as the continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments. View Frequently Asked Questions.
- SBA resumed accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications on June 15 to all qualified small businesses, including U.S. agricultural businesses.
Coronavirus Non-Profit Relief Fund
As a reminder, the State of Alaska has set aside $35 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to specifically support nonprofits in Alaska adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has partnered with The Alaska Community Foundation to establish the Coronavirus Nonprofit Relief Fund (CNRF) with the set-aside funding. Eligible organizations are encouraged to apply to ACF for grants from CNRF.
Deadline for Applications
Round 1: July 29, 2020, 5:00 PM
Round 2: August 26, 2020, 5:00 PM
Round 3: October 14, 2020, 5:00 PM
If you need assistance on compliance or help applying, you can contact the Foraker Group at email@example.com, or call 907-743-1200. They have services that can help you including assistance with grant writing.
More COVID-19 Resources
We were heartened to hear of these resources at the State and National level aimed at helping small businesses during this trying time. We will share more details with you as they become available.
Alaska Chamber COVID-19 Business Tool-kit
- CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- Standardized Employee Screening Questionnaire – US Chamber of Commerce
- Guide to Independent Contractors’ CARES Act Relief – US Chamber of Commerce
- HR Quick Reference Guide on Navigating COVID-19 – RISQ Consulting
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 – OSHA/ HSS
- COVID-19 Small Business Guide – US Chamber of Commerce
- Guide to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans – US Chamber of Commerce
- Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist – US Chamber
- Guide to Independent Contractors’ CARES Act Relief – US Chamber
- Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit – US Chamber of Commerce
- Guide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs – US Chamber of Commerce
- Health Insurance Resources and Guidance – RISQ Consulting
- Communication Resources – CDC
- How to Acquire Alaskan Made PPE – Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership
- Corporate Aid Tracker – How businesses are helping nationwide
Reopening Can Be Daunting! We’re Here to Make it Easier!
Whether you are just giving your first thoughts to reopening and expanding your products/services back out, or you’ve already started the process, we are here to help you not only reopen, but Come Back Better! Click the button below to check out our new campaign to help all Cordova businesses Rethink – Rebuild – Reopen – Recover. On that page, we offer links to:
- Download a Reopening COVID Mitigation and Safety Plan template, specific to your business type that meets State of Alaska Phase 1A and current reopening protocols.
- View a checklist with 6 steps to Reopening, to make sure you are covering all your bases.
- Send your info to the Chamber so we can help get the word out to your customers on your new way of doing business, and schedule a Ribbon Tying to celebrate your reopening!
If you’re feeling stuck, nervous, or just have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are here to help you! Call 424-7260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chamber Office is Open!
We’re excited to join the Come-Back and reopen our office to appointments. Click the button below to view our full COVID-19 Safety & Mitigation Plan and watch the this video for a fun Ribbon Tying to celebrate our reopening and go through some of the parts of our plan that we feel are most important for you to know! We can make one of these videos for your business as well! Learn more about our Come Back Better Campaign by clicking here.
COVID-19 Visitor Info
To learn more about rules for traveling to and from Cordova, visit our Visitor Info page.
Statewide Tourism Industry Reopening Guidance
Travel in Alaska in the “new normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic will be focused on ensuring trust from travelers, our staff and teams. The Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) along with industry representatives, state health officials and partnering organizations provide guidance to Alaska’s tourism businesses as they re-open safely, across our state. The information in this document reflects the feedback and advice gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and White House guidelines: “Opening Up America Again” and in consultation with community representatives and state public health experts.
Is Your Business Compliant With Both City & State Regs?
On March 27, 2020, the Governor and his team issued the Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order. Plan submission guidance can be found in the State of Alaska Press Release 020-003, dated March 25, 2020, which gives clarifying information and instructions for plan submission by businesses maintaining critical infrastructure.
On March 30, 2020, the City of Cordova issued Cordova Emergency Order 2020 which institutes temporary emergency rules and procedures in response to the COVID-19 Health Emergency. There have been a few updates since then, and the most recent version can be found by clicking the button below. Businesses operating in Cordova should pay special attention to Rules #9, #11, #13, and #15.
On April, 24, 2020, the State of Alaska launched its Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan and corresponding Mandate 16. On May 6th, Cordova City Council approved it’s Reopen Cordova Responsibly Plan, allowing non-essential businesses to restart operations under the strict protocols of State Mandate 16. We strongly recommend you familiarize yourself with the protocols and measures that will need to be in place for your business to begin the Reopen process. Click the button below.
What Do I need to submit to the City?
- Mutual Aid Agreement documents for businesses and vessel operators can also be found on the City of Cordova’s COVID website, or download them from the links below:
- A template of COVID-19 Protocols and Safety Measures for your business is available for businesses to use below.
- Any other forms or plans you submit to the state regarding COVID-19 and your business must also be submitted to the City of Cordova within 5 days of you sending them to the State.
Click this link to view the Cordova Chamber of Commerce’s comprehensive list of the status, hours, pick-up, and delivery options and other accommodations local businesses are offering during this time.
You Can Still Support Local Businesses and #ShopCordovaFirst
- Give the gift of business – Call in your orders for pickup if that’s available, order to-go food, buy gift cards, or make online orders.
- Leave Positive Reviews – Search for businesses on Google, Facebook, and Yelp and leave nice reviews & ratings.
- Keep Your Membership/Subscription – If you have a membership to a gym, music or art class, dance class or a subscription to a service provided by a small business — keep it going! Many small business rely on that support to keep afloat.
- Don’t ask for a Refund – Arts Councils, performers, and local event producers often run on very tight margins and rely on event revenue to keep them afloat. If an event or performance gets canceled, consider not asking for a refund so the artist/organization can have more working capital during this difficult time.
- Buy Now, Pick Up Later – If you considered purchasing a larger item like a musical instrument, piece of equipment or order of supplies, consider calling in your order now, paying for it and asking them to set it aside for you to pick up when it’s safe to do so.
- Share The Love Online – Write social media posts about your favorite local businesses and products, share the posts of your favorite businesses, and interact with their posts and virtual events.
News from Cordova’s Incident Management Team
What to Do NOW to Protect You & Your Business
For your customers: Make your place of business as hygienic as possible and communicate what you are doing to customers so they feel comfortable visiting. Put out hand sanitizer and disinfect surfaces and common areas regularly. Consider offering or promoting existing distance options like drop-boxes and telephone or online support.
For your business: Prepare for negative economic impacts.
– Staffing: Develop staffing plans for varying levels of customers and revenue (what does an 80% scenario plan look like?).
– Insurance: Check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and options.
– Capital: Create, confirm, or expand your line of credit.
For your employees: Check, modify, and communicate HR policies regarding remote working, sick-leave, and compensation during health crises. Try to ensure your policies are as flexible and non-punitive as possible. Sick employees should be encouraged to STAY HOME.
For your workflow: Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences. Where relevant, consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time; and create and test remote employee collaboration systems (consider apps such as Slack and Zoom). Consider offering telecommuting or work-from-home options for your employees. Local telecommunications providers may be able to help you.
For your cashflow: Communicate with your landlord (or tenants) and lenders about expectations and request flexibility (better to have that conversation now).
For yourself: Eat well, sleep, and exercise. Taking care of yourself in this time of stress will improve your resistance to infection and resilience in managing difficult business situations. And of course, wash your hands all the dang time and don’t touch your face, or anyone else, for that matter.
For your Fellow Business Owners: Local businesses can be of great help to us at times like this. Restaurants and other eateries offer hot, nourishing meals and many have take-out options. Libraries and retailers are great sources for books, movies and games to pass the time. Banks can assist with special loan funds. Stores selling food, medical supplies and other necessities are nearby and easily accessible. If you want to support a local business, but maybe belong to an at-risk part of the population, you can purchase a gift certificate now to be used later or ask a friend of family member to pick things up for you. Steps like that will enable local businesses to keep paying their staff – your friends and family members – and keep businesses viable in our community.
For your Chamber: For us to best serve you, we need to know and share what our members are doing to manage risks. To that end, please tell us what’s working and what you need from us! There may also be federal loans or grants available to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of the declared disaster, so please let us know if you document any substantial losses to your business.
This Continuity and Recovery Plan Template can help you identify key resources and needs to ensure that business may continue, perhaps in a limited capacity, or how your business will fully recover should the disaster be catastrophic. Now is the time to plan for the moment that this is all over. Click here to download the plan template.
Not Ready to Reopen? Better Your Business From Home!
If you find yourself with some unexpected downtime, you can still use this time wisely to learn and grow your business from the safety and comfort of your home computer.
Our partner, Alaska Small Business Development Center (AK SBDC) decided to waive all fees for all on-demand and any new live webinars until the end of June!
The following may prove especially helpful right now:
- SBDC Financial Projections
- SBDC Business Insurance
- SBDC Basic Bookkeeping
- Small Business Loans and How to Prepare to Meet Lenders
- Full listing of webinars: https://aksbdc.ecenterdirect.
Here are some of our other favorites: